Sweden, Finland to submit NATO bids

  • Sweden and Finland announce they will submit their applications to join NATO on Wednesday but face a potential stumbling block to ascension after Turkey said it was opposed to them gaining membership.
  • Talks between Ukraine and Russia over ending the war have stalled, with both sides blaming each other for a breakdown in negotiations.
  • Ukraine’s military declares an end to the Azovstal operation in Mariupol after hundreds of soldiers were evacuated, having surrendered to Russian forces.
  • The Kremlin claims the fighters will be treated “humanely” but a Russian lawmaker says they “don’t deserve to live“, while the speaker of the Duma calls for them to stand trial.
  • The International Criminal Court deploys a team of investigators to Ukraine to probe possible war crimes.

    Ukraine says negotiations with Russia ‘on hold’

    An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that talks over ending the war are currently suspended and blamed Moscow for failing to find areas for compromise.

    “The negotiation process is on hold,” Mykhaylo Podolyak said in a statement issued by the presidency.

    Podolyak, who is also Kyiv’s lead negotiator in talks with Russia’s delegation, said Moscow was blind to its “extremely negative” role in the world.

    “The strategic objective of the Russians is: all or nothing,” he added, accusing Moscow of failing to understand that the war is “no longer taking place according to its rules, its timetable, or its plans”.

    His remarks came after a Russian official said earlier on Tuesday that talks were not being held “in any form” between the two sides.

    Why does Turkey oppose Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership?

    Ankara says it will not open NATO’s door to the two Nordic countries, accusing the Nordic countries of harbouring “terrorists” and citing issues concerning historic disagreements.

    Finnish President eyes fast NATO ratification by US

    A quick ratification of Finland’s and Sweden’s applications for NATO membership by the United States would help the whole process go faster, Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto says.

    “If you have a quick process there, it helps the whole process and the timetable for the whole process,” Niinsto told reporters at a joint news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm.

    “That is very important in this context,” he added.

    Niinisto and Andersson are due to meet US President Joe Biden in Washington on Thursday.

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